Jo memorializes Memorial Day

Memorial Day weekend is upon us. It’s the time of year when we open up the pool, invite family and friends over for a barbecue, and then hit the mall for those once-in-a-lifetime specials.

But here’s the rub — Memorial Day is so much more than that.

Here’s a bit of history: Originally named Decoration Day, Memorial Day came about shortly after the start of the Civil War in 1861 when genteel ladies in Virginia decided they wanted to decorate the graves of those who wore Confederate grey. (Every time I think about that, a smile comes to my lips, and I remember the very courtly Aunt Pittypat in “Gone with the Wind,” who headed the “Committee for the Beautification of the Graves of the Glorious Dead.” Nope it never gets old).

By the 1920s, it was more commonly known as Memorial Day and was extended to honor all American service members who died in defense of our country.

In 1967 it was officially declared Memorial Day by federal law, and in 1968, when Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, Memorial Day moved from its traditional date of May 30 to the last Monday in May, thereby creating the three day-weekend we have come to look forward to as the kickoff to summer.

So, as you sit back, kick off the flip-flops, and go for the second helping of burgers and hotdogs on the grill, don’t forget the real reason we celebrate. It really is for those glorious men and women — Navy, Army, Air Force, Marines, and all the rest — that gave their all for all of us.

Not for Nuthin™ be safe, have fun, and don’t have too much macaroni salad — you know bikini season is just around the corner.

Follow me on Twitter @JDelBuono.

Joanna DelBuono writes about national issues every Wednesday on BrooklynDaily.com. E-mail her at jdelbuono@cnglocal.com.

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